OLD MARK'S STRATAGEM
By H. M. Egbert
"And I wish you joy of him," re
peated Mrs. Philip Adams, pursing
her ilps and looking angrily at Lucy
It had always irritated the wealthy
farmer's wife that her cousin, the
wife of ne'er-do-well Frank Smith,
should have offered a home, to their
mutual uncle, Mark Evans.
Mark Evans had owned a prosper
ous farm of his own a few years be
fore, hut when his wife died the old
man of eighty was unable to keep it
upc At eighty-two his niece, Mrs.
Adams, fearing that the depreciating
property would leave her only a tri
vial legacy, persuaded the old man to
"Pay the money over to me and
Phil," she said, "and we'll take care
of you for the rest of your days."
The old man did so, but the farm
realized less than a thousand dollars.
The Adams family was furious.
"If I'd known the old skinflint
wasn't worth more than that, I'd
have seen myself swished before I'd
have got stung for a home," said
"What's he done with all his
money? He used to be rich," said
his wife. "However, he won't last
But he did last. Old Mark flourish
ed amazingly, and at eighty-four he
was as vigorous as many a man of
half his age. In vain his niece
watched for signs of breakdown.
"We can't go on feeding the use
less old cuss for ever," muttered her
husband. "If it wasn't for what the
neighbors would say, I'd turn him
away to the poorhouse. He's stung
Old Mark heard that. He had re
signed himself without complaint to
?' ittic room, to a separate table
- received the scraps that fell
mily's leavings. He had
taunts of the ill-bred
Adams children. But it stung him to
the quick to be a burden, to be ac
cused of dishonesty
"My niece Lucy Smith wants me
to spend a week with her," he an
nounced the next day. "Guess I'll
pay her a visit."
"Guess you'll pay the fare, too,"
sneered Philip Adams.
However, Lucy had paid the fare,
and the old man duly departed. The
week's stay had extended to a year,
"But I Don't Play No Favorites," He
and Old Mark was still there, an hon
"ies, i wisn you joy or mm, re- , "w
Deated Mrs. Adams, who had eone to W N
pay her cousin a visit "Eats his head
off, don't he?"
"He has a good appetite," admitted.
Lucy. "We like to see uncle eat"
"Humph! Well, it's more than I
do," answered her cousin. "And
don't think we're going to take him
back, after the way he's acted to us,
because we ain't"
xml | txt